The third LP and the self-titled album can be two of the most difficult releases for a band, as the former seeks to establish longevity and the latter grasps at self-definition. The Forecast’s latest record is both of those things and it is hard to argue with their choice in title, as The Forecast takes their post-hardcore by way of pop-rock fusion to a more confident place than ever before.
The album opens with “Losers”; it is pretty brief, as its runtime is less than a minute but it’s long enough to immerse you into the mindset of the record. Despite any negativity the title might conjure up, it is actually a rather bright song that shows strong country influence similar to later-day Get Up Kids. While the Forecast tend to work best with short three-minute songs, the slide guitar and sparse piano flourishes of album centerpiece “Snake Charmer” really use those Americana elements to hold the listener’s attention for its longest track just as well as they did on the shortest. Given how natural they sound with this material, it would have been nice if they had they let it creep into the recording a little more. The country tinges aren’t the only aspects of their last album, In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, that show up here either. The intro of “Illinois” and “Double on the Rocks” shows some of the straightforward rock ‘n’ roll muscle the band added in on their last record. “Heads Will Roll” reaches back a little further in their catalogue, as the guitars on the verses sound like they would have been right at home on Late Night Conversations. By building upon their back catalogue like this they create a great jumping point for anyone to get into the band.
To anyone that has heard the band before, what is likely to hit you first about The Forecast is how upbeat it actually is. Late Night Conversations and In the Shadow of Two Gunmen were brooding and moody albums best listened to after dusk, where as a lot of this record you might actually want to listen to when you aren't already eight fingers deep in whiskey and tears. Moments in “If I’m Not Mistaken” and “A Better Man”sound like they could have fallen off the back of a truck carrying lost Piebald songs, which isn't anything to kick out of bed--your ear bed, anyway. “Kisses” makes a lyrical reference to Lifetime’s “Just a Quiet Evening,” which is a delightfully self-reflexive moment as that song appeared on Lifetime’s similarly upbeat and self-titled album.
The Forecast have created an album that makes a statement about who they are and where they have come from. It is also a great pop-rock record with a lot of depth to it that is likely to find itself with quite a bit of airplay. My only major gripe with The Forecast is that bassist/vocalist Shannon Burns is mostly relegated to a support role when her voice sounds the best it’s ever been. The Forecast prove why for years they were one of the only reasons to check out Victory Records' new release schedule.